Friday, 6 December 2013

Dalton and Szymborska

Lynn Davies responds to one of Mary Dalton's poems, reprinted in The Breakwater Book of Contemporary Newfoundland Poetry:
Her poem “The Boat” reminds me of Wistawa Szymborska’s "Funeral” in which Szymborska simply lists the comments of people attending a funeral. I can’t help smiling at the end. How pragmatic but vulnerable we are around death. In “The Boat”, Dalton describes the broken boat that sails down from the heavens and lands in a bed of petunias, and then she lists the people trying to use or make sense of the miraculous boat. In the “ballyhoo” at the end, as the people are arguing among themselves, the boat simply takes off into the blue again, “battered planks clanking.” It’s a noisier, more colourful poem, but I hear a similar vulnerability and pragmatism in response to mystery. Dalton makes me laugh here, as she often does in her poems.

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